Eating tuna and salmon and taking Omega 3 supplements may help with arthritis, heart disease, inflammation, cholesterol, depression, ADD and other health issues.
The benefits of including fish and fish oil supplements to a diet have been well-known for years by health and nutrition advocates. But now, using Omega-3 Fatty Acid every day is even recommended by doctors.
Why Taking Omega 3 And Fish Oil Is Important?
Omega-3 fatty acids are a very important part of the diet. Omega-3s are a type of unsaturated fatty acid that helps with reducing inflammation, improve learning ability in children, lower blood pressure, reduce blood clotting, enhance immune function, slows the buildup of atherosclerotic plaques (“hardening of the arteries”), improve arthritis and depression symptoms and help with heart disease and even weight loss.
Omega-3 fatty acid is comprised of the compounds EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and has to come from fish, plants or in supplemental form because it cannot be made in the body.
Cell membranes are mostly made up of fatty acids. One of the functions of the body’s cell membranes is to balance the number of nutrients that get in and remove waste products out of the cell. Omega-3s help with this function.
Omega 3 Fatty Acid In The Diet
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends Omega-3 fatty acids in the diet and suggests adding fish, especially fatty fish like mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon twice a week. Eating this kind of fish instead of fatty meat adds protein but not the high saturated fat in beef, pork, and other high-fat meat.
Critical Role Of Ratio Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids To Omega-6 Fatty Acids In Diet
Omega-6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that promote inflammation. Corn, soy, canola, safflower and sunflower oil are the usual sources of omega-6 fatty acids in the diet. The balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids in the diet is extremely important in order to maintain optimum health. To maintain optimum health, 2-4 times more omega-6 fatty acids should be consumed in relation to an omega-3 fatty acids. The typical American diet has 14-25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids, promoting inflammation in the body.
Other Benefits Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that help prevent heart disease, arthritis, and cancer. PUFs are in high concentrations in the brain, where they help memory and higher brain functions. Severe omega-3 fatty acid deficiency can lead to dry skin, diminished memory, fatigue, poor circulation, heart problems and mood swings or depression. Studies also suggested that the severity of asthma (inflammation of the lungs) was decreased with the higher the intake of omega-3 fatty acids by adolescents.
How to Take Omega 3 Fatty Acid And Fish Oil
How Much Fish Oil a Day
Most doctors, including international health and nutrition authority Dr. Andrew Weil, suggest taking 1 to 2 grams (1000 to 2000 milligrams) of high-quality fish oil a day for optimum health. For serious illnesses, such as Crohn’s disease or arthritis, as much as 5 grams a day may be taken, but individual needs should be addressed with a health care practitioner. The recommended ratio of EPA to DHA 3 or 4 EPA to 1 DHA, according to Dr. Weil.
Supplements can be used in addition to eating fish and other Omega-3 food sources as it is difficult to reach the recommended daily amount of EPA and DHA simply with diet.
Capsule or Liquid?
Fish oil is available in capsules and in liquid form. The capsules are the most popular because they do not have as much taste as the liquid. Some people feel the liquid is a better delivery system but Dr. Weil indicates that it is not really known which is better.
Capsules may be kept in the freezer to help avoid fishy aftertaste. Taking capsules in their frozen state does not change its effectiveness. Storing them in the freezer helps prolong shelf-life as well.
How Much Omega-3 Should A Child Have Each Day?
Recommendations vary for how much omega-3 is advisable for different age groups.
Infants: The Dieticians of Canada and the American Dietetic Association recommend non-breast-fed infants should get a formula that has both DHA and arachidonic acid (another three-letter acronym, ARA).
Age 1 through 12: These children may benefit from eating two three-ounce seafood servings weekly, according to the (US) National Academies.
Teenagers: The National Academies recommends this group should eat two three-ounce fish servings a week.